A vision for transportation, mixed-use and sustainability around 55th and Arapahoe.
In December 2016, a multidisciplinary team of leading design and development professionals volunteered their time for an Urban Land Institute Colorado (ULI Colorado) Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) to create a vision for redeveloping a 325-acre office park/light industrial site in the 55th and Arapahoe Avenue area of East Boulder. The Boulder Chamber and the Boulder Area REALTOR Association (BARA) asked the panel to consider how this study area, part of the city’s largest employment area, could accommodate much-needed workforce housing.
The ULI panel envisioned a strategy to create not just housing, but an entirely new type of place. This new “East Edge” (a kind of complement and bookend to downtown’s West End) could become an innovation and creativity hub linked by new transit options. The East Edge would support existing and new businesses and allow them to grow within the context of three walkable mixed-used residential and commercial districts.
Boulder is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit. An innovation and creativity hub would support existing businesses and attract the next generations of start-ups. The addition of housing and convenient services linked to jobs and transportation transforms this office park/light industrial study area into a new “15-minute” mixed-use neighborhood consistent with the city’s goals for infill development.
The ULI panel’s vision calls not just for “adding housing units,” but creating a special place with:
- a range of housing types, sizes, formats, and pricing
- convenient services in a walkable setting
- retention of existing businesses, allowing them to grow in place
- spaces to incubate innovative and creative businesses and culture
- new transportation options, including a walkable/bike-friendly connected network
- public spaces that celebrate art and culture
- a market and urban agriculture focus with fresh and healthy local food celebration and integration of greenways, waterways, open space, mountain views, and other natural features
- amenities that enhance the area for all of East Boulder
Technical Advisory Panels (TAPs) Technical Advisory Panels bring Urban Land Institute (ULI) Colorado expertise directly into communities to address tough real estate problems. TAPs provide advisory panels composed of ULI Colorado members who volunteer their time to offer unbiased, disinterested professional advice. Each are leading experts in their fields. Since 2004 ULI Colorado has been invited to conduct more than 50 TAPs throughout Colorado. TAP findings and recommendations are nonbinding and solely intended to advise communities with strategic recommendations and best practices on sustainable land use.